Accountability and the privateness of Private Ancillary Funds

Williamson, Alexandra, Luke, Belinda G., & Furneaux, Craig W. (2016) Accountability and the privateness of Private Ancillary Funds. In 8th Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (APIRA 2016), 13 - 15 July 2016, Melbourne, Vic. (Unpublished)

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  • Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) are endowed philanthropic foundations that exist for public benefit purposes, yet have private ownership and control. The aim of this study is to examine the dimension of privateness of PAFs from three levels of analysis: individual, organisational, and institutional. At each level, the significance of their privateness for PAF accountability is investigated.


  • This exploratory, qualitative study is based on 10 semi-structured interviews undertaken with managers and/or trustees of 10 PAFs from three Australian states.


  • In contrast with McIlnay’s (1995) arguments, findings demonstrate the primacy of organisational level privacy over individual level privacy, while institutional level privacy is of lesser importance.

Research limitations/implications

  • The primary theoretical contribution of this paper is that privacy and accountability need to be considered across a range of different levels, as they vary significantly between an individual (or family) level, organisational level, and group or institutional level. The main limitation is the small sample size, and further data may reveal as yet unexplored linkages between accountability and privacy.


  • Privacy and accountability are strongly inter-related for PAFs, and different levels of privacy can exist at different points simultaneously on the continuum between privateness and publicness, with impacts for PAF perceptions and practices of accountability. Untangling the levels of individual, organisational and institutional privacy results in a clearer understanding of how privacy impacts on accountability.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 97574
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: accountability, philanthropy, privateness, foundation, Australia
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > ACCOUNTING AUDITING AND ACCOUNTABILITY (150100) > Accounting Auditing and Accountability not elsewhere classified (150199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2016 00:00
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2016 04:06

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